Gundam SEED Fan Fiction / Vandread Fan Fiction ❯ GunDread SEED (Redition) ❯ Life ( Chapter 6 )
[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Disclaimer: Everything Gundam isn't mine, neither is everything VanDread, I'm just borrowing them.
< >: Thoughts
On board the Nirvana and out in the endless void of space, the pirate crew and their male comrades, including the last Gundam pilot fought hard for their survival. Ever since the first Vanguard mission on that desert planet, the men and the women had been busy fending off the alien forces almost daily at every turn as they continued to head for the system of Megele and Talark.
Today was a very intense battle as the Nirvana was deep inside an asteroid belt near a planet that resembled the planet Jupiter. The aliens had established an ambush force that lay in wait for the Nirvana to enter its trap inside the belt of ice chunks and space debris. As soon as the Nirvana crossed into the zone that the aliens initiated the attack with dozens of squadrons of the Cube-Fighters, several Seed ships, along with some extra cruisers and carriers. Included in the alien attack roster was a brand new fighter that was extremely fast and maneuverable, placing the sleek Dread fighters and their pilots to shame.
Right now the pursuer of this new alien interceptor was none other than Meia Gisborn herself. Gritting her teeth in frustration, Meia tried to lock on and take out the new fighter. The Dreads were having difficulty in maneuvering inside the asteroid ring, this being one of the Dreads' key weak points. That wasn't apparent in the new alien fighter as it was smaller in mass and was able to nimbly dodge every shot fired at it by the Dread squadron leader. She looked to the side and scowled as she spotted the newly formed Vanguard squadron pass through the massive ice chunks and rocks with ease. Being smaller in mass than the Dreads, gave the maneuvering advantage to the Vanguards, they could go to places the Dreads couldn't. This naturally gave them good positions of attack despite the confined areas.
At present, Kyo's squadron, which he had named the Crusader Squadron, was busy using the asteroids as cover from alien fire and to ambush the alien forces. They were raking in an impressive kill rate among the Cube-fighters and the smaller attack units of the aliens. However, they lacked the overall speed and attack power that the Dreads have, to make any headway against the larger and faster opponents.
At the head of the squadron was their commanding officer in his own mecha, as he directed his forces in a flanking action, while the other groups he directed as a rear guard for the Dreads and the Nirvana. After taking some time to decide, the Gundam pilot agreed to take command of the Vanguards and help in training the new pilots. With the aid of Gascogne and Buzam, he had selected a good number of recruits from the Register and the Dread crews, along with some others from the security unit of the ship. Kyo then made it apparent to those women under his command that he wasn't going to make this easy for them as the aliens don't play by anyone else's rule book but their own. True enough to his promise; the young man placed the women through the equivalent of boot camp. Since the fighting arts were the specialties of the Vanguards and his Gundam, the former Yamato used them extensively with the training regimes; this helped sharpen reflexes and made piloting the Vanguards more effective. For weeks he endlessly drilled his new subordinates in the principals of armed and unarmed combat and how to apply those lessons in commanding their newly assigned machines. More often that not, the trainees would wind up battered, bruised, and exhausted as Kyo wasted no time to put them through their paces. Those paces included hours of combat practice, sessions in the simulators and mock battles with the Vanguards out in space. As for Kyo himself, he took a course in basic space combat and tactics with squadrons as he had been used to going solo instead of commanding whole squadrons. With his extensive background in the fighting arts, his knowledge of Mobile Suit warfare and maneuvers and his practical experience in many battles long before being on the Nirvana, he was able to select the best strategies that suited the Vanguards perfectly.
True to Kyo's expectations, those women who were selected for duty in the newly formed Vanguard squadron resented the fact that they were under a man and had to follow his orders. But through the insistence of the Captain and the senior staff, the females reluctantly underwent the training for the newly formed squadron. They had to admit that the young soldier was no easy task masters when it came to their training, he had no compunctions in flooring a trainee to the practice mat if she went too far out of line. One particular female named Sara received a good heap of bruises early on from her new commander.
Sara came from a long and proud lineage of women who didn't for a second consider themselves to be just ordinary women, Sara's ancestry dated back…rather amazingly to a certain friend of Kyo's father Kira. And she was none other than Miriallia Elsman. Milly had become a reporter along the way, and stayed in the PLANTS along with her husband Dearka. Their descendants, namely their female descendants helped set the bar in certain battles over the years ever since Kyo had been caught in suspended animation as they had taken part as defense consultants and agents. She took deep pride in this lineage and trained extensively in the fighting arts and was considered the best hand-to-hand combatant. But that changed when she was placed under Kyo's command.
Naturally, she scoffed at the idea of her taking orders from a mere male. She went far enough to issue a challenge to Kyo himself. She stated that should Kyo defeat her in a one on one battle she would follow his orders to the letter. If she won then he would return to the Register and she would lead the Vanguards. Kyo had no qualms in accepting the challenge.
Kyo stared at his challenger with a sigh and a mood of irritation. < Just what I don't need right now, someone who's trying to make this more difficult than ever. >
“What are you waiting for? A written invitation? You challenged me to this match."
Kyo finished as he crossed his arms, then directed his attention to his challenger; Sara had a light complexion which seemed right on her, she was similar to her ancestor Milly, as her hair was also light orange, which was in a long ponytail behind her. Her eyes were deep brown and seemed to show strength and defiance. She was tall at the height of 5'9 and was no stranger in the figure department. The other Vanguard trainees were also there; watching on the other side of the mat, as the best combatant on the Nirvana stood against the pilot of Gundam Freedom.
On the other side, Sara glared defiantly at the male in front of her. She was one the proud descendants of the Elsman family and she would not be defeated by anyone, namely by a man. She had heard about how Kyo had easily tossed the formidable Meia Gisborn, she however had supreme confidence in her abilities and she would win. Meia was a good and respected fighter onboard the ship, but Sara prided herself to be the best combatant on the Nirvana. She would show this male his place!
“Remember, when I defeat you, then you will go back to the Register and I will lead the Vanguards!"
Kyo nodded with his temper in complete control. “Agreed. IF you can beat me. When I win, you will follow all my orders to the letter."
“Hah! This won't take long! HIYAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"
End of Flashback…
True to her words, the match had been a short one. However, Sara had found herself kissing the mat on the hanger. Her skills were considered powerful by Kyo's standards, but she proved no match to the styles of fighting that Kyo had mastered at an early age while growing up, the skills he had picked up in his previous sojourns in the universe, and his years of combat training and practical experience, even though his memory of his days as a counter-terrorist agent and martial artist were as hazy as a foggy morning. Sara now knew how a basketball felt after being slapped, tossed and slam-dunked all over the hanger.
Sara had spent all her life on Megele, and just like the majority of the population, she was raised to hate and reject men, even if she had to admit that the former Yamato's combat skills were very good. In any case, Sara was a warrior and stayed true to her promise and underwent the training like everyone else. Kyo however was impressed by her skill, and noticed that the young woman had skills that showed her to become a capable leader. He then made a decision and announced that she will be second in command of the Crusader Squadron. This helped lessen the hostility between Kyo and Sara.
Back to the present…
The past events had deeply infuriated Meia every time she recalled them, and when she got angry, she became careless and unfocused. As she continued to pursue her target through the morass of asteroids, she neglected to watch her warning sensors and scanners as three of the Cube-fighters were now in hot pursuit of her. They were now in the perfect firing position to take her out of the chase permanently, but they also weren't aware that someone was watching Meia's back. Before they could fire, two flashes of red light happened behind them and they were slashed to bits. When the smoke cleared, there was Kyo piloting Freedom along with a pair of his Vanguards near him.
Kyo looked over the situation quickly, he knew that Meia won't be able to pursue the alien interceptor the way she was now, but if they… “Meia! That thing's too fast to tackle on your own! I'm coming over to combine now!”. The dangerous situation they were all in placed pride as the least needed at this point and he knew for a fact the GunDread Meia had the needed speed and agility to take down that interceptor.
“This is my fight!" The stubborn and strong-willed girl shouted back at him. “I don't need your help!" She then brought her fighter to try once more to catch up with her target, reaching dangerous speed. However, the moment she banked to the side to avoid an incoming asteroid, she gasped as her target suddenly reversed it's heading and open fired at her Dread, which due to the sudden action was totally defenseless. Her Dread took a bad hit on its fuselage… dangerously close to the cockpit.
“MEIA!!!" Kyo shouted out as he and Freedom towards the Dread, firing several beam rifle bolts and assault bullets at the fighter, leaving behind the two other Vanguards and chased off the alien fighter before it had a chance to finish off Meia. The Dread floated in space like a wounded bird, as it leaked plasma coolant and debris. As soon as Freedom got close to the damaged fighter, Kyo's heart stopped. Inside her cockpit was Meia, slumped over the console of her fighter and blood was pooling from a head wound.
Kyo wasted no time as he got into contact with Sara.
“Sara! I want you to lend as much support as you and the Crusader Squadron can to the Dreads. I'll take Meia to the medical bay!"
“Roger Commander!" Sara replied without any hesitation.
“Freedom to the Nirvana, do you copy?"
“Yes Freedom we're here!"
“Ready the medical bay immediately, Meia's been injured!"
“What?! Meia's injured?!" Magno replied. Things had just gotten more difficult.
On the way to the medical bay…
“Surface wound to the head and ruptured spleen! She's also suffered a visually fractured femur." Duero replied as he pushed the gurney while assessing Meia's injuries.
Kyo and Dita were running alongside along side the young doctor as they pushed Meia's gurney to the medical bay. The three of them rushed towards the emergency room at the best speed they could reach without causing further injury to Meia. That meant that Jura now had the responsibility to lead the Dreads into battle.
“CLEAR THE EMERGENCY ROOM!" The doctor shouted the moment he rushed through the door leading to the Medical Bay; he quickly went to work by pushing the gurney under a medical scanner unit. Immediately the only certified doctor onboard the Nirvana went to work. He stripped off the top of Meia's flight suit without any hesitation and didn't take notice of Meia's breasts. He had done a lot of reading on female anatomy ever since he took the position as doctor on the Nirvana and now was a situation where he needed his full focus. Duero knew that he needed to bring Meia's vital signs and functions to stable levels. Paiway immediately went to work assisting Duero as he instructed her to immediately administer the sedatives, which was in a syringe.
During the administration, Meia's headpiece fell off from her face and made a clinking sound as the crystals inside the headpiece were scattering. As the sedatives began to take effect, Meia's consciousness began to slip away. Before the darkness overcame her, she uttered only one single word.
Out in space… the situation just got even worse…
“A-Team, switch to alpha formation! And B-Team… uh, let's see…" Jura said as she then became indecisive as she tried to direct the Dreads in the way Meia normally would. She didn't have much in terms of opportunities and chances to direct the Dreads, as Meia would normally be in charge of all Dread operations. And this had a difficult effect on her command skills, which was now manifesting in the heat of this battle.
However, the Dreads became even more disorganized as the enemy continued to press the attack to their best advantage by exploiting the Dreads' weak points and using the advantage of the asteroid belts. Several of the pilots were now out of the battle, as their Dreads were rendered inoperative as the alien fighters broke through their disorganized ranks and began to attack the Nirvana itself. The ship shuddered under the force of the attacks as the barrier systems tried it's best to hold the shields.
On the bridge, Magno and BC knew that the situation was getting even worse by the moment, especially after receiving news from Jin that Meia had been incapacitated. The enemy began using decoy beacons to further disrupt the fighters, and more reports began streaming in as the Dreads were being bushwhacked on all sides. The communications systems were all nearing collapse as the overloading continued and there seemed to be now way of getting out the mess they were currently in.
“Three more Dreads have been rendered inoperative!"
“I can't find anyone out here!"
“Who's in charge of the D-Team?"
“I can't receive Miss Gasco's order!"
“Help! I'm hit!"
“Jura! That formation you ordered is a total mess!"
“I know that! I know that!"
The Dreads were being pounded left, right, front, back and center. To make the situations more difficult, the asteroids made it difficult for the frequency systems on each Dread to signify its difference from friend or foe, this lead to many friendly fire incidents.
Down in the Register, the battle stress seeped its way into the supply center, Gascogne's crew were now under quickly building stress as the difficulties mounted. With the still growing flood of repair and ammunition orders coming in at a rapid rate, the staff found themselves being overwhelmed. Panic was beginning to take hold of the crew, but the head supplier kept a cool head and called their attention.
“Easy girls. Panicking now isn't going to help us win this battle. Well, let's hear it."
The staff gave a simultaneous wave and replied in unison. “Smile! Smile!"
The irony of the situation was that the only organized group in the battle was the Vanguard Squadron. Kyo had trained the pilots with the discipline of the fighting arts, and he had taught them calm methods in fighting with a Mobile Suit, which helped them remain calm and focused during this frenzy of missile trails, laser bolts, and cannon blasts. The hardships that they all had endured under Kyo in the training regimes mock battles, and combat sessions began to show the desired result. They were doing an excellent job of maintaining their defensive lines and helped keep the Cube-fighters away from attacking the Nirvana. However, they were still outnumbered by the aliens and they couldn't be everywhere at once. Despite their valiant support of the Dreads, still more fighters fell to the alien's unending attacks.
A flash of blue-white light and a blue colored Dread signified the return of Kyo along with Dita. The young pilot wasted no time in using the HiMAT system and now sent many enemy forces into oblivion. Kyo considered using the more powerful assault of Freedom and Liberty, but the support unit for Freedom would be too badly hampered in this environment and the blast effect of the concerted weapons barrage could be fatal to his allies. As a result he had no choice but to take the alien forces down one at a time.
As he tore through four more Cube-fighters, he looked above him and spotted the same alien fighter that had nearly killed Meia. His anger boiled at the alien fighter and unleashed several plasma and rail-gun bolts at the fighter. The machine however wasn't concerned with Freedom's blasts and darted away from the beams that Freedom fired at it. Kyo growled in anger but calmed down; he knew that the machine was fast, even faster than he was. It then occurred to him that the machine seemed to act as the leader of the alien's assault force. Destroying it could be the winning edge they all needed to end this battle. He was angry that he couldn't fuse with Meia's Dread; he then decided that they had no other choice but to use the next best option. He then directed Freedom headed towards Dita's fighter. Kyo then ordered several Vanguards to lay down enough cover fire to help him get to the bubbly Dread pilot.
“It's time to combine, hurry!"
Dita perked up in surprise and. This was the first time she had heard Mr. Alien was willing to combine with her. “Uh…yes."
In just a few moments the Gundam and merged with Dita's Dread. A bright flash of light later, GunDread Dita was now in the battle. It easily tore up several Cube-fighters that tried to stand against it and closed in on the target. Kyo knew that despite this GunDread he formed with Dita didn't have the edge in speed as the GunDread formed between him and Meia, it made due with extreme range firepower.
Inside the cockpit of the merged mecha, Kyo nodded, as he and Dita were close enough to take out the nimble alien fighter. Once they got into firing range, he then activated the shoulder cannons, took careful aim and…ducked.
Actually the whole GunDread ducked, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision with a huge asteroid. The alien fighter then zipped past the asteroid and was now out of range.
“Damn! That thing's gotten away again!"
At that moment Jura's fighter showed up alongside the GunDread. Inside the blonde was feeling angry and frustrated; this was due to the mess they were in and the feeling of self-anger at being unable to command the Dreads properly. So like any irrationally angry person, she lashed out at the nearest person in the area. “Nice going. Is that all you smart-aleck males can do?"
Kyo was also feeling rather angry himself, since the situation wasn't going to be easily resolved. And naturally the last thing he needed was someone trying to barb him. “Give me orders when you know HOW to command!"
“Shut up! I don't NEED a MAN to tell me what to do!"
“You don't? Then too bad! We need to work hard here and fighting me isn't going to help us at all! Get your head out the damn clouds and try to lead the Dreads better." Kyo replied as he jetted the GunDread away to fight again, but not before seeing tears threatening to run down Jura's eyes.
At the Command bridge…
Buzam listened to the flow of communications on the confusion and the arguments between the pilots and crew, including the exchange between Jura and Kyo. BC then shook her head in frustration. “It seems that we've depended on Meia far too much. We've neglected to train a sub-commander in the event that she would be incapacitated."
“There's more to that BC." Magno said as she began to think about the young Dread Leader. “The reason is because she wouldn't let us. She's always been like that, taking the entire burden on herself, from the first day she joined us."
In the Medical Bay, Duero and Paiway were in their own intense battle, as they desperately tried to stabilize Meia's condition.
“Paiway! Adjust the oxygen saturation. We've got to keep Meia from going into shock!" Duero ordered the young nurse as he continued to do what he could to help stabilize Meia.
As the apprentice nurse followed the doctor's orders, she turned and noticed a glint near Meia's left eye. She gasped as she saw a trickle of moisture run down the Dread leader's cheek.
“This is the first time I've ever seen Meia cry."
Deep inside the realm of her conscious, Meia's memories of her childhood came bubbling up to the surface to play themselves in front of the Dread pilot. She saw her ohma and fahma fuss over a little, blue haired girl as she came back from school. Meia's parents had been the head scientists who were involved in a research facility that promised biological advancements in which would help improve the living conditions to the population of Megele.
The scenes changed to a Christmas Eve in which she had received the Paeksis crystal headpiece that she now wore as a reminder of her past. Her mother (fahma) smiled deeply and commented on what a wonderful gift Meia's ohma had given her this day. More images that became rather tragic flashed by, until one image remained forever in the young Megele pirate's mind for the rest of her days, and it became the main reason why the normally tough and independent Dread pilot was totally fearful of closed spaces. She saw herself being packed with other children were being packed away in space capsules as explosions and chaos reigned over and around them. She then reached out with her hand toward the hatch to her ohma. But the gentle-looking woman refused and smiled sadly, saying that it was for the best. Then before she could deny it and beg to be by her ohma's side, Meia watched as the door closed on her and she was now in darkness.
Outside the battle raged on between the Nirvana's defenders and their alien enemies, the main Dread fighter teams had pulled back for repairs and rearmament. The secondary groups were now deployed alongside the Angel Squadron to maintain the defensive lines, until Jura and the seasoned pilots were ready to enter the battle once more.
However, the blonde pilot in question wasn't in any mental or physical shape to go into battle again and lead her other comrades. After the disaster with her first attempt at leading the Dreads, Jura crawled back into her own shell and was presently sitting at a vacant area of the Register and was sobbing away. Her face was against her knees and her long blonde hair covered her expression.
“I…can't…do…this! I…I…can't replace Meia!"
“No one here expects you to Jura."
Jura looked up and saw Gascogne standing in front of her.
Gascogne nodded as she explained. “No one here is blaming you for what happened out there or here as well. We're all feeling the pressure, but crying about it isn't going to help us at all. No one here expects you to be like Meia."
“She's correct on that one."
The two women looked and saw Kyo's images on the screens of nearby monitors. Currently GunDread Dita was under the Nirvana getting recharged.
“I want to apologize for that earlier outburst." Kyo explained. “I'm feeling the strain and so is everyone else here. I'd rather be busy fighting the enemy instead of my own allies."
Gascogne nodded as she continued while looking at Jura. “We're in this battle together Jura, and you should learn not to take all of the workload on your own. Being a leader means that you have to depend on your team, and depend on yourself. And when you are leading, then lead in the way you would do it, not in the way you think someone else will."
Kyo nodded. “I agree, Jura, you have your own skills at commanding the Dreads, use them and hope for the best. Don't try to follow the ways others would lead if you have your own way of leading your teams into battle. Your own talents are needed to lead, not the talents others would have, like what Gasco said 'You are not asked to lead like Meia or to replace her'. And when you are in the commanding position, then command. Look at me. I never wanted to be the leader of the Vanguards, but when I took the job, I gave it my all, no more no less. I don't gripe about it or complain at all, I know that I had to do whatever it takes to get the job gone, and I let everything else fall into place. That's all that you need in battle. Do your best, that's all that you need to do."
The former Coordinator signed off as Gascogne smiled a bit at the image of the Gundam pilot. “You know, for a man, he gives really good advice."
The doctor was getting even more worried. Even though all the surface wounds Meia suffered were now treated and healing well, and her vital signs were now stable, there was a serious problem on hand. A fragment of Paeksis crystal had imbedded itself in Meia's cerebral cortex and Duero was deeply concerned that it would cause psychological trauma and injury to his patient.
Inside Meia's mind, the Dread pilot was now reliving and visualizing her life after she was packed away on the escape capsule. The scandal that had caused the ruin and destruction of her parents' company had made her an outcast among the population of her home planet, she saw herself growing up on the streets, fighting for her own survival and acceptance in the world. She could hear the whispers of people passing by, stating that she was now no better than garbage now. They mocked and ridiculed her. She had been a famous person once; the daughter of two well respected scientists. It didn't take long for the young woman to fall into a mood of depression and despair. Soon, it didn't take long for her to develop a reason and a goal to live, that goal and reason was to end her life.
That was when she encountered Magno Vivian and joined her crew of pirates.
Out in the battle zone…
“Damn! This is starting to get really annoying!" Kyo growled as he and Dita watched the battle while inside the GunDread. They both watched as the Vanguards and the Dreads fought as one concerted unit. The battle was now breaking away from an even match to a one-sided battle as the numbers of alien fighters grew. Kyo knew that they needed some way to even up the odds. It was then that he heard sobbing, and he knew just who it was.
“I wonder if Meia is going to die?" Dita said sadly as she tried to hold back her tears but had little success.
Kyo wasn't in the mood to see the normally cheerful and happy Dread pilot become sad and depressed, since saddened eyes and tears never suited this perky redhead at all. “Don't worry about it. She'll be alright."
“You think so?" Dita asked as she turned to Kyo.
Kyo smiled as he recalled all the lessons he learned from his now forgotten parents (though they were very vague), and the lessons he had also learned in his journeys with Freedom. “I've learned that no matter how difficult and nearly impossible things become, you should stand strong and keep on moving forward, that's all you can do. I can gripe, complain or cry about it, that much is true, but when I reach the end, I ask this question. ' Have I done everything or are there some things I still have to do?'”
“I know that it's hard for you and everyone else on the ship. But I believe that your leader still has things to do here, and there's still a chance that she will make it through. Duero right now is doing everything he can to bring Meia back, and so is Paiway. Let the doctor do his job, that job is to bring Meia back safe and sound. Our duty now is to help guard the ship and the Medical Bay that she's in so that she can come back. Don't worry, have faith in her will to live and the doctor's talents to help her. Do that and I know that Meia will not die."
Dita sniffled a bit and wiped away her tears, and smiled brightly. “You're right. Thank You Mr. Alien."
Kyo sighed a bit and spoke with a tired look. “I wish that you would stop calling me by that name."
It was then that they all got a message from Jura.
“Attention all pilots. Begin changing the frequencies of your barriers and beams. We should be able to avoid being damaged by stray friendly fire."
Kyo gave a deep smile after hearing that. < Good move Jura; nice to see you back in the fight. Now all we need to do is take out the aliens. The question is how do we do that? We can't go in and get tangled in another ambush. > Kyo thought about it a bit more. Then an idea suddenly flashed into his mind. He then accessed the scenario computer Freedom had, and made some checks on the idea…once he was done, he decided to check in with the bridge.
On the bridge, Magno received even more bad news. The port arm of the ship had been hit rather badly causing the Nirvana to tilt at a very dangerous angle; the defensive barriers had now retreated to the third level. Once the barriers exceeded that mark, then the pirate ship will now be totally defenseless. The enemy was now mounting a full-scale attack with all their forces.
At that point she received a call from Kyo.
“Captain, there's no need to worry about all this, I've got an idea on just how to bust out of this mess."
Magno perked up at that announcement. “Are you thinking of doing a suicide mission?"
“The thought did cross my mind, but this plan is just as crazy as to what you've just said. In either case, I haven't got any plans on dying yet. I haven't tried everything the galley has to offer anyway, and all this fighting is giving me a very ravenous appetite."
“If this plan you have in mind works, then you have my permission to eat yourselves to death."
“I've got no problems with that, but there is one extra catch to this plan." Kyo replied.
“That catch being what?"
“I'll… have to take command of the Dreads as well as Crusader Squadron, just for this one time only."
“I had the impression that you never liked being in full command."
“I still don't Captain, but for this plan to work then I'll do it." Kyo finished as his image winked away from the monitors.
Duero found himself rapidly running out of alternatives. He couldn't attempt brain surgery on Meia at present as the battle outside raged on, so he called Parfet to rig up an ultrasonic psycho-stimulator unit. In theory the machine is used to break up the Paeksis crystal to completely harmless fragments, therefore bringing Meia back from her near comatose state. However, if this gamble didn't pay off, then Meia would never be the same again.
Out in space…
“All right everyone, get into formation. I am getting rather hungry and there's an all you can eat buffet with all our names on it. Let's get this all over with in one clean shot!"
All of the Dread teams lined up in formation behind GunDread Dita, as the enemies were also gearing for their final assault. The Vanguards then moved to special strategic positions. Each of the mecha were carrying specially made reflector panels.
“All teams report in." Kyo called out as he began checking the situation via tactical monitors in the GunDread.
There was a rather long silence as no one answered the former Yamato at first. Then, in very restrained voices, the squadron leaders of each team replied.
“Crusader Squadron ready."
Kyo nodded in satisfaction. It was obvious to him that the Dread pilots liked taking orders from him even less than the Vanguard pilots did, but he knew that now wasn't the time to argue over this matter. As the enemy forces closed in on the Nirvana, Kyo began the countdown, as he gauged the distance of the enemy.
The enemies began unleashing a barrage of beam and cannon fire that immediately pounded on the Nirvana's weakened barriers, causing it to flicker and buckle under the impacts.
The barriers collapsed, now unable to withstand the barrage leaving the ship wide open to attack. Inside the navigation well, Bart screamed in pain as the Nirvana took several direct hits.
The alien forces streamed forward and closed in, now totally committed to the attack… just as Kyo hoped that they would.
"…three…two…one… LET'S DO IT!"
The Dreads and the Vanguards complied, charging forward with GunDread Dita leading the latest counterattack.
In the Medical Bay, Meia screamed as the stimulator was activated, her body thrashed about in agonized spasms, making everyone in the room, namely Duero, Paiway, and Parfet extremely tense. After a minute of the treatment, Meia's body stiffened and then collapsed back on the table. The pulse monitors were now showing all her vitals signs…on the flat-line.
“MEIA!" Parfet and Paiway screamed.
“I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!" Dita cried out as the GunDread was relentlessly pounded on all sides by the enemy forces.
Kyo however kept his focus despite the barrage and then placed a reassuring hand on Dita's shoulder. He smiled as soon as he checked the monitors. The Dreads and the Vanguards were reaching their respective coordinates right about… now!
“HERE WE GO!"
The young Gundam pilot began working fast as he fed his data stream into the command systems of the GunDread. The shoulder cannons detached from their back mountings and melded with the arm-blades, forming a massive glowing sword on each arm. The blades glowed with power as Kyo prepared to unleash the attack.
The GunDread thrust out its arms and let loose with multiple blasts of pure nuclear and Paeksis based energy. The massive blasts shot out towards the Dreads and the Vanguards. Each beam attack in unison reflected off the Dreads' shields and the panels carried by the Vanguards and all headed towards the enemy in all directions at once. The results were devastating for the opposing forces. Cruisers and Cube-fighters were decimated along with asteroids and anything else caught in the barrage. Even the new ultra-fast fighter was destroyed, as despite the agility it was given by it's makers, it wasn't intended to dodge attacks on all sides as the destroyed asteroids also tore into the alien forces. There was one massive mushroom cloud sized explosion as the main body of the alien ambush force was wiped out into the depths of oblivion.
“That's totally insane!" Buzam declared as she watched the planet-sized fireworks display out in the asteroid belt. “He used the Dread's shields and those reflector panels to reflect all our shots!"
Magno shrugged and smiled a bit. “It may have been insane, but it worked quite well. BC, tell the galley to get ready for a very hungry customer."
Meia felt that she could let go now. It was now so peaceful, so quiet. She didn't feel pain, she didn't need to worry anymore, and she felt nothing at all. She then found herself on a field that had no end and was filled with sweet-smelling grass, and had a deep blue sky, which was as clear as an ocean. She now could finally be at peace with herself.
However, before she could now send herself to oblivion, she heard a voice, a voice that was gentle and kind… a voice she immediately recognized.
“Meia, my dear one. Don't give up now. You are far stronger than me, and you have your whole life in front of you now, don't turn away from it."
Meia looked to the side and spotted a woman, a person very close to her heart.
The voice continued to speak. “Though you may not know, you have many friends back there who care deeply for you. It would break their hearts if you were to leave them now."
Meia then began to see more images in front of her, all showing the crew of the Nirvana. People who she had met along the long and difficult road that was her life, Magno her captain, Buzam the second in command of the pirates, Gascogne the supply supervisor, Parfet their spunky engineer, Paiway the young but well talented nurse, Dita her apprentice, Jura her second in command, and all the others she had spent her many years with after joining the pirates. Then the men onboard the ship appeared as well, she saw Duero as he tried to offer his advice on operating the Vanguard and his requests to help her, both she denied and that nearly cost her, the spark of her life. Then she saw Bart with his idiotic expressions and whining attitude. And finally she saw Kyo.
She saw Kyo with his many moods, when he was calm and very amiable, and when he was quiet and moody. His knowledge was good, and his sheer nature was something she began to wonder about. And she saw him in his Gundam, fighting alongside her and her comrades.
She looked at her fahma who smiled back at her.
“There's so much waiting for you, you shouldn't give up now, but I promise you this…I and your ohma will always be with you, even if we're not alive.”
She then saw her ohma alongside her fahma who also smiled at her.
“There's nothing wrong with being alive, you should choose to live, Meia, we'll be here and with you, now and always.”
Meia then found herself in a room with two doors, and she was being pulled in two directions. On one door stood the spirit of death, who promised her eternal rest and freedom from all the pain, yet in exchange she must spend it all in total darkness and silence. On the other door stood the angel of life, who promised her a life of more conflict and trials and pain, yet it would be in unending light and she would be with everyone. Meia knew that she would spend whatever energy on making a choice. Life and more conflict, or death in unending shadows.
Taking one last mental breath, she made her choice.
The lights greeted the young Dread pilot's eyes as she opened them. “It's so bright…" Meia mumbled as soon as she looked at the overhead operating light. As soon as she focused her vision, she spotted there beside her bed, and standing over her and sobbing like crazy were Parfet and Paiway.
“You came back to us!" The young engineer exclaimed in nearly unrestrained joy.
“We all brought you back!" Paiway said nearly choking on her own tears.
Meia smiled a bit as she looked at the two. “Stop that you two." She then reached out and touched her face; panic then took hold of her as she noticed that something important was missing… namely her headpiece.
“Don't worry about it. It's right here with me." Duero replied as he held up Meia's most prized possession and reminder of her past life. “This is very important to you, isn't it?"
Meia took a long look at the headpiece and shook her head. “No. In reality… it's a very important lesson.
“Whatever lesson it has taught you, I hope you take it to heart. Welcome back."
Meia gave only a nod as she lay back on the bed.
At Meia's room…
Meia shook her head a bit as she sat on her bed in the room. After spending a few hours in her quarters looking through the large picture window showing the vast reaches of outer space, she decided to get some air, as sleeping was not on her mind.
After putting on her usual uniform, she decided to visit the ship's galley. The other pilots had been in there celebrating their latest and most well earned victory over the alien enemies and were now sleeping off the effects of their overindulgence. As soon as she got in, she looked at the room; naturally there was one heck of a mess. Plates were stacked high on tables everywhere. Empty bottles were also on tables and were even on the floor and everywhere also. The crewmembers were slumbering on the floor and also on the chairs. Though the Dread team leader normally didn't allow this breach of discipline and the big lack of it, she found no fault in her comrades. They all had earned this. They had defeated the enemy forces…without her help.
She then walked over to three tables that had the highest stacked plates and in the middle table she spotted Dita sleeping with a blanket on her shoulders, no doubt this was where Kyo ate. She had expected the Gundam pilot was also sleeping but didn't find him after the way he pigged out on the food. She took the time to immerse herself in thought as she recalled the young man who saved her life before. That was when she heard footsteps.
“They all did their best this day."
“Captain." The Dread leader turned to face the Nirvana's commanding officer.
The old woman then gestured with her walking stick in order of the tables and to the empty chairs. “He ate enough food to feed a few of our crew for at least a day. We all thought that there was no way he could handle all that food, but he proved us wrong, however, he earned it."
“I see." Buzam had informed Meia that the counterattack against the aliens had been Kyo's idea. In that sense, Kyo was even more puzzling to the Dread leader, but she had to admit that he was indeed an experienced leader, despite his previous reluctance to be the Vanguard leader.
“It's certainly ironic when you look at it in a certain point of view, you know?"
“Kyo's very similar to you, don't you think? The major difference between you and him is that he's not going to bottle up his feelings, but he shows them. I never expected that the he would win everyone's hearts or at least in this case, their respect at such a short period, and right under our noses at that too."
Meia didn't reply, but her expression was of surprise, the ancient woman the spoke some more. “Meia… I know that the past few weeks have been hard for you, but don't you think that it's time for you to open up a bit more? Perhaps this is the time to find forgiveness… for yourself."
Meia directed her gaze at the stars through another observation window and considered her leader's words.
Meia entered the gym as she didn't find Kyo in the rest of the rooms in the Nirvana and sure enough, there was Kyo working out, he took off his upper body clothes, and was bare-chested and going through the motions of a very complex kata. The young woman didn't recognize the style he was using, and it made the motions done by Sara look clumsy and wasteful of energy. For a long while, Meia watched Kyo, not aware that she was in a state of admiration of the young man, as he moved with the grace and controlled ferocity of a beast, primal, elegant, but still deadly.
After a few more minutes, Kyo stopped his training and took a few deep breaths and went into a neutral stance, he then turned and smiled a bit at her and spoke.
“Meia, good to see you up and about. So how was the show you got to see?"
Meia looked squarely into Kyo's own sapphire/amelyst colored eyes , and gave a hint of her own smile. “It was… interesting."
“I see, hey take a seat, you and I need to talk."
“Talk about what?"
“On why, during that Vanguard mission back on that desert world, that you knew that you suffer from claustrophobia, and you went anyway."
Meia scowled a bit, but decided that she should follow the captain's advice and open herself to others more. And she could see that Kyo wasn't going to downgrade her, he had already proven that, besides, something about him made her feel like she could trust him. They sat down on the mat, and Meia began to tell Jin on what had happened to her long ago, before she had joined Magno's pirate group.
Kyo didn't say much as he listened to Meia's account on her life. And never did he interrupt her, not once, but silently understood what sufferings Meia had to bear. The most prominent was her fear of closed spaces.
“I see… But how are you feeling now?”
“Better at least, like a great weight's been removed.”
“That's good to hear." Kyo replied as he got up and prepared once more to exercise and do some more katas. “Working with the Dreads was tough in every aspect. I'll say this much to you, you can be the Dread leader anytime of the day, I have enough problems with the Vanguards as it is."
It was then that Meia decided to drop a bombshell right on Kyo's head. (Not literally speaking of course.)
“You were right."
Kyo looked back at Meia in surprise. “What do you mean by that?"
Meia swallowed a bit as she prodded herself to speak. “You were right. I should have combined with you and Freedom when you told me to. That new fighter was too fast for my Dread alone. But I was too stubborn to admit the truth and it nearly cost me my life. And the time I tried to pilot a Vanguard despite I was fully aware that I was claustrophobic, that nearly got Dita, Jura, Barnette, and me killed…including you."
Kyo smiled a bit as he could tell that this little confession was costing Meia a good amount of her own pride. But he found no fault in it, as he could see that Meia was now opening herself to others, and somehow it made him smile that the first person she opened herself to was to him of all people. “I see, you're admitting that you were mistaken in doing those things. That's not a sign of weakness you know."
“To show that you are wrong doesn't make you seem weak at all. It just shows that you're human. And let me tell some advice I got from a friend long ago, He said that to become a leader, one must admit all his/her shortcomings and find ways to work around them, that shows to others that you are only human. I'll admit that I pegged you for the type who never would ask help from anyone, but now I can tell that you are human despite your reactions to being given help. Personally, I like that."
Kyo then went back to training, leaving Meia to watch him and consider all that he told her.
To be continued…
Well, that closes the curtain on this chapter, and now I'll have to ready the crafting of Kyo and Meia's relationship as the Nirvana heads back to Talark and Megele and make their relationship progress further. Not to worry though, I haven't forgotten the others entirely, as in the next chapter we'll be delving a bit more on Kyo and Dita's own relationship. And like before it's going to be totally off the bat than the stories I've read. The changes are rather significant but it suits my purposes. And lastly… I'll definitely work hard on the respective relationships of Dita, Meia, and Jura with Kyo. But that doesn't mean that other girls won't get a chance to shoot any cupid's arrows of their own